66. Guru at Nander
At Nander the Guru selected a lovely spot on the bank of the river Godavri. Two reasons are generally given for his choice of this place. Firstly he wanted to see Banda Bairagi and secondly there were eight Ashrams of different religious sects. The Guru wanted to enter into a dialogue with the leaders of the holy camps to show them the true path and to convert them to his own viewpoint. It was perhaps because of this that he immediately started addressing congregations. Crowds of people seeking spiritual light flocked to him. Soon it was indeed a model of 'Anandpur' reproduced in the Daccan. A news reached here that the Emperor's army had ransacked Sadhaura and treated Pir Budhu Shah as a rebel, for having faith in Guru Gobind Singh whom they considered as a 'Kafir' or infidel. One day the Guru went to the place of Bairagi Madho Das, a hermit. Finding the Bairagi absent, and on hearing that he possessed supernatural powers who could overthrow any one who sat on his couch, the Guru took comfort in sitting on it. The Guru's followers killed a goat and had cooked it in the forbidden square of the Bairagi. A disciple went to inform the Bairagi of the Guru's actions. It was a sacrilege to kill an animal at the Bairagi's place and another sacrilege to take possession of the couch which served him as a throne. Bairagi was mad with anger and violently moved headlong towards the Guru. He tried all his powers to hurt him but in vain. When he found himself helpless, he asked the Guru who he was. The Guru replied that he was Gobind Singh. Bairagi was pacified and his anger suddenly transformed into worship. The Divine Light from the Guru's eyes dispelled all darkness from the mind of the Bairagi who immediately knelt before the Master and in total submission admitted that he was his (Guru's) Banda- a slave. The Master then instructed him on the tenets of Sikh religion and baptized him. He was named Gurbakhsh Singh but continued to be known as Banda or Banda Singh. He had heard from the Sikhs the atrocities of the Muslim rulers in the Punjab including the massacre of Guru's innocent children, thus, became ready for any service he could perform for the Master. Upon this the Guru instructed him to proceed to the Punjab and fight oppression of the rulers upon the Khalsa. Saying this he presented him with his bow and five arrows and addressed," As long as thou remainest continent, thy glory shall increase. He who is content, turneth not away from the combat, his opponents cannot withstand him. Once thou forsakes the Khalsa principles and associate unlawfully with woman, thy courage shall depart." The Guru dispatched some Sikhs to assist him in this enterprise. Banda took the oath, bowed and departed. This was an outstanding example of Guru Gobind Singh's power to make sparrow to hunt the hawk and make one Sikh fight with one hundred twenty-thousand. Banda Bahadur who was a hermit wedded to the creed of non-violence, was made into the greatest general of the time by the Guru's power. (Banda Bahadur planted the Guru's flag in a village about thirty-five miles of Delhi. The Sikhs from all over the Punjab gathered under his banner and made such powerful and devastating attacks that within a few months they razed Samana, Shahbad, Sadhaura and Chhat Banur to the ground. Next came Sirhind. Banda Bahadur made so strong and sweeping attack that the enemy could not stand against his army. Wazir Khan and his minister Suchnand were both put to sword. Emperor Bahadur Shah failed to crush him and died in delusion of victory over the Sikhs.) After Banda's departure the Guru lived at various places in the neighborhood called Shikar Ghat where he used to go hunting, at Nagina Ghat where a Sikh presented him with a valuable signet ring which he threw into the river. At the Hira Ghat where he disposed of a similar valuable diamond ring, and also at a spot now called Sangat Sahib where he used to give religious instructions to his followers. The close connections between the Guru and Emperor Bahadur Shah had alarmed Wazir Khan, the viceroy of Sirhind. He had ordered the infant sons of the Guru to be bricked alive in the wall and beheaded. It was he, who was responsible for inflicting most of the atrocities upon the Sikhs in the Punjab. He feared that his life would be in danger if the new Emperor and the Guru came to a compromise. He, therefore, conspired a plot to kill the Guru and he sent two Pathans, Gul Khan alias Jamshed Khan and Ata-ullah, to assassinate him. All kinds of people started attending the congregations of the Guru at Nader. Soon the two Pathans also started coming to the assembly which was addressed by the Guru. On the third or fourth day, Jamshed Khan found an opportunity and as Guru Gobind Singh retired to his personal apartment after the evening prayer, he entered the apartment and, wounded him with a dagger. The Guru put him to death immediately, though he himself was wounded seriously. His fleeing companion was stabbed to death by a Sikh who rushed to the Guru's place hearing the noise. Various views and stories have been expressed with regard to the circumstances of the assassination of the Guru. Cunningham writes that a Pathan merchant who had sold horses to the Guru, came one day and asked for immediate payment. The Guru who was short of funds, asked him to come some other day. The Pathan used an angry gesture, and his uttering of violence provoked the Guru to strike him dead. The body of the Pathan was removed and buried, and his family seemed reconciled to the fate. His sons nursed their revenge, and availed an opportunity of fulfilling it. They succeeded in stealing upon the Guru's retirement, and stabbed him mortally when asleep and unguarded. (Cunningham- History of Sikhs, p-82)
Other writers such as McGregor (History of Sikhs, vol.1 p-99- 100) states that the Guru shortly after, realized his mistake and as a recompense for the fate of the victim, the Guru showed special favor to the widow and brought up her son as a father would do. When the boy grew to manhood, he is said to have been incited by the Guru himself to strike him. The boy did it with fatal results for the Guru. Trump also believes in this version and to give a rationale to it, states that the Guru had been disgusted with life and wanted to end it. These stories are absolutely baseless. These writers should understand who the Guru was. Guru Gobind Singh was sitting on the divine throne of Guru Nanak, therefore, he was the embodiment of Divine Light; the Divine never feels disgusted or dejected. The Guru never uttered any word of grief nor did he show any sign of despair during the unparallel sufferings he went through. It is not recorded any place in his sermons or writings that he had ever expressed a sigh of grief. When Nura Mahi brought the news of the brutal massacre of his younger children, the Guru thanked God, "Father, mother and four sons, all were Thy trust to me. Today I have been successful and happy in restoring that entire trust back to Thee." One can hardly find such an example in the annals of human history. In recent years fresh light is thrown by a Hukamnama according to which no demand for immediate payment was put before the Guru. The Pathan actually refused to make any demand when reminded of it by the Guru. This is shown by Hukamnana (letter of appreciation issued by the Guru) which the Guru granted to the Pathan for his good and friendly behavior and which is still preserved by the descendants of that Pathan. (Kartar Singh: Life of Guru Gobind Singh, p-263). A probe into the historical circumstances leads to the Emperor's involvement. The Emperor was enraged with the Guru for deputing Banda to Punjab to renew the struggle and kill Wazir Khan. It seems that the Emperor was also afraid that the Guru might join the Marahattas in their battle against the Mughals during the time of his struggle with his brother at Hyderabad. It was perhaps for this reason, he was not leaving the Guru alone. Bahadur Shah had the mistaken belief that the Guru's death would be a fatal blow to his scheme of renewing the revolution in Punjab, he, therefore, entered into conspiracy with two Pathans deputed by Wazir Khan to put an end to Guru's life. The following historical facts testify this view: On October 28, 1708, the Emperor ordered that a dress of mourning be presented to the son of Jamshed Khan Afghan who had been killed by Guru Gobind Singh. The imperial newsletter of Bahadur Shah's court records reads:
"Keh Guru Gobind Singh Rai Jamshed Khan Afghan ra bajan Kushtah bud khilat-e-Matami bapisar-i-Khan Mazkur Mrahmat shud." (Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mualla, dated 24 Shaba, second year of Bahadur Shah (Oct. 28, 1708) quoted by Dr. Ganda Singh in Makhiz-i-Twarikh-i-Sikhan, p-83)
Jamshed Khan was not a high dignitary upon whom the Emperor had to bestow high honors. He was only a spy of Wazir Khan. Two days later on October 30, 1708, the Emperor ordered for the grant of a robe of mourning to Guru Gobind Singh's family. It means that the Emperor treated Jamshed Khan and Guru Gobind Singh on equal footing, thereby confirming that Jamshed Khan enjoyed the patronage of the Emperor. "On November 11, 1708 it was represented that the deceased Guru left huge property." The courtiers asked how should it be disposed? It was ordered that such chattels would not replete the imperial treasury. "This was the property of a darvesh (saint). There should be no interference with it," ordered the Emperor. The Emperor's refusal to attach the property of the Guru against the will of his courtiers shows his diplomacy and cunningness. It was purely an eye-wash of his complicity, a pious fraud, writes H.R. Gupta in his 'A history of Sikh Gurus', p-240. The Guru's wound was immediately stitched by the Emperor's European surgeon and within a few days it appeared to have been healed. Soon after when the Guru tugged at a hard strong bow, the imperfectly healed wound burst opened and caused profuse bleeding. It was now clear to him that the call of the Father from Heaven had come and he, therefore, gave his last and enduring message of his mission to the assembly of the Khalsa. He then opened the Granth Sahib, placed five paise and a coco-nut before it and solemnly bowed to it as his SUCCESSOR, GURU GRANTH SAHIB. Saying 'Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh', he circumambulated the sacred volume and proclaimed," O beloved Khalsa, let him who desired to behold me, behold the Guru Granth. Obey the Granth Sahib. It is the visible body of the Gurus. And let him who desired to meet me, diligently search its hymns." He then sang his self-composed hymn:
"Agya bhai Akal ki tabhi chalayo Panth
Sabh Sikhan ko hukam hai Guru manyo Granth
Guru Granth Ji manyo pargat Guran ki deh
Jo Prabhu ko milbo chahe khoj shabad mein le
Raj karega Khalsa aaqi rahei na koe
Khwar hoe sabh milange bache sharan jo hoe."
Translation of the above:
"Under orders of the Immortal Being, the Panth was created. All the Sikhs are enjoined to accept the Granth as their Guru. Consider the Guru Granth as embodiment of the Gurus. Those who want to meet God, can find Him in its hymns. The Khalsa shall rule, and its opponents will be no more, Those separated will unite and all the devotees shall be saved."
He, in grateful acknowledgement of the spiritual benefactions of the founder of his religion, uttered a Persian distich, the translation of which is:
"Gobind Singh obtained from Guru Nanak
Hospitality, the sword, victory, and prompt assistance."
(These lines were impressed on a seal made by the Sikhs after the Guru left for his heavenly abode, and were adopted by Ranjit Singh for his coinage after he had assumed the title of Maharaja in the Punjab) He then left for his heavenly abode. The Sikhs made preparations for his final rites as he had instructed them, the Sohila was chanted and Parsahd (sacred food) was distributed. While all were mourning the loss, a Sikh arrived and said," You sup pose that the Guru is dead. I met him this very morning riding his bay horse. After bowing to him when I asked whither he was going, he smiled and replied that he was going to the forest on a hunting excursion." The Sikhs who heard this statement arrived at the conclusion that it was all the Guru's play, that he dwelt in uninterrupted bliss, that he showed himself wherever he was remembered. He who treasures even a grain of the Lord's love in his heart, is the blessed one and the Guru reveals himself to such a devotee in mysterious ways. Wherefore for such a Guru who had departed bodily to Heaven, there ought to be no mourning. The Master returned to his Eternal Home on the 5th of the bright half of Katik, Sambat 1765 (7th October, 1708 A.D.). He was 42 years of age. Before leaving this world, the Guru had ordained," If any one erects a shrine in my honor, his offspring shall perish." The Sikh temple at Nader is called Abchalnagar. It was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1832 in defiance of the Guru's interdiction. After Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the rule of his dynasty, therefore, came to an end. Guru's prophecy was fulfilled.